Existing home sales rose 6.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.19 million, the highest annual rate in 18 months.
Total housing inventory increased 5.3 percent to 2.00 million homes available for sale, 2 percent higher than a year ago. There is currently a 4.6 month supply of total existing homes available for sale, down from 4.7 months in February.
Existing home sales increased across all four regions, with the Midwest experiencing the largest monthly gain in sales, increasing 10.1 percent. The Northeast climbed 6.9 percent, followed by a 6.3 percent increase in the West and a 3.8 percent increase in the South. “The combination of low interest rates and the ongoing stability in the job market is improving buyer confidence and finally releasing some of the sizable pent-up demand that accumulated in recent years,” stated NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
All cash sales were 24 percent of transactions in March, down two points from February and 9 points lower than March 2014.
First-time home buyers represented 30 percent of buyers, up from 29 percent last month.